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A Vision of Where Networking is Headed with Cisco and ThousandEyes

Networking is a complicated technology in 2021. With the recent shift to working from home and a workforce that’s more mobile than ever before, it’s important to understand how the infrastructure we rely on to get work done impacts our productivity. You need to have visibility at every level to understand the impacts on your userbase wherever they may be right now.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Angelique Medina, Director of Product Marketing for ThousandEyes, recently to discuss some of the trends that they’re seeing and how they’re offering solutions that help operations teams know where the trouble might be before it becomes a real problem.

 

Moving Users to The Edge

The COVID pandemic of 2020 shifted workers to their homes en masse for the first time that anyone could remember. Gone was the eternal discussion of productivity from your home office versus being in your corporate office. With everyone forced to work with their home networking gear from their residential internet service providers (ISPs), the challenges came fast for remote users.

ThousandEyes was on top of those issues, as documented in their 2020 Internet Performance Report. With the push to send workers home for safety, ThousandEyes tracked reliability concerns with transit providers and cloud providers alike. One of the interesting tidbits brought up by Angelique in this interview was that part of the reason for the instability in transit providers came not from failure but from planning for future workloads.

Transit providers were suddenly hit with more traffic than they had seen in a long time, thanks to a stationary workforce and video calls becoming the new preferred method of communication. Upgrades and resource reallocations that had historically been put off were suddenly hot items to finish. This meant the need to take down parts of the infrastructure for new software upgrades or perhaps even new hardware installation. While the result was a better, more stable offering for the ISP customers, it didn’t mean the upgrade process was smooth and without disruption.

Likewise, the COVID pandemic ended up being a huge driver of digital transformation, including a shift to more Internet-based alternatives for connectivity. The move from MPLS and leased lines to SD-WAN was already underway when the pandemic hit. Now that those leased lines were sitting unused at offices without users, enterprises found themselves reliant on cloud services and the public internet as an extension of their WAN. In essence, the entire internet became the new enterprise network and with that, new challenges to see and manage any disruption that’s happening outside the traditional perimeter.

Bringing It All Together

This interview features more conversation around visibility, cloud reliability, and why a company like ThousandEyes can give you better information than your service provider ever will. With their acquisition by Cisco, you can count on that visibility being a core part of Cisco’s networking strategy going forward. Having end-to-end visibility into the performance of the internet and cloud you now depend on, means you’ll have the right information when you need it to ensure your users can reliably connect to critical services. We all know remote work can have its challenges and there’s no reason connectivity should be one of them.

For more information about ThousandEyes and how they deliver internet-scale visibility, make sure to check out their website.

About the author

Tom Hollingsworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a networking professional, blogger, and speaker on advanced technology topics. He is also an organizer for networking and wireless for Tech Field Day.  His blog can be found at https://networkingnerd.net/

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